Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
Qualcomm, NXP receive antitrust approval. Smartphone chipmaker Qualcomm Inc has received approval from U.S. antitrust regulators for its proposed $47 billion acquisition of NXP Semiconductors NV, Qualcomm said in a statement on Tuesday. The waiting period required for companies under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act has expired, the company said. Additionally, Qualcomm said it is extending its cash tender offer for all outstanding shares of NXP.
US, EU Clear Chinese Takeover of Syngenta. U.S. and European regulators have cleared a Chinese conglomerate’s proposed $43 billion acquisition of Swiss agribusiness giant Syngenta on condition it sells some businesses to satisfy anti-monopoly objections. The Federal Trade Commission’s announcement comes alongside the approval by European regulators of the purchase by state-owned ChemChina. It would be China’s biggest foreign acquisition to date. ChemChina, also known as China National Chemical Corp., agreed to sell businesses that make an herbicide, an insecticide and a fungicide whose combined market shares with Syngenta would harm competition, the FTC and European Commission say.
McDonald’s accused of antitrust practices in France, Italy and Germany. McDonald’s was accused in three separate complaints Tuesday of improperly driving up consumer costs in France, Italy, and Germany by forcing the company’s franchisees to swallow antitrust practices. The fast-food giant abused its dominant market positions by requiring its franchise holders in the three European nations to display higher prices than those at company-operated sites, according to complaints that labor and consumer groups filed with competition authorities in those countries. McDonald’s also charges excessively higher rents for franchise locations and imposes terms that restrict franchisees from shifting to other brands, the complaints allege.
Judge Puts Seattle Law Allowing Ride-Hailing Union on Hold. A federal judge in Seattle on Tuesday temporarily blocked the city’s first-in-the-nation law allowing drivers of ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft to unionize over pay and working conditions. U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik’s ruling came after he heard arguments last week in a case brought by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The chamber argues that federal antitrust and labor law trumps the city’s statute. The judge said the chamber was unlikely to succeed on those claims or its chances were not clear but he put the law on hold because the lawsuits raised serious questions.